Former zookeeper Peter Adamson was “instantly recognized” by his old friend Kirsty, an Asian elephant, who lived at a Glasgow zoo in the 1970s and 1980s, the Daily Mail reported.
Adamson was a keeper at the Calderpark Zoo and looked after Kirsty during the early 1970s, before she moved away in 1987 to Chester in north-west England where she met her female companion Judy for the first time.
The duo later moved to Dublin where they lived together from 1994 until 2005 until they were shipped to Germany. Kirsty, born in 1967, has been living in Neunkirchen Zoo in Germany’s Saarland state since 2005.
Having lost track of Kristy when she left Scotland, Adamson recently discovered Kristy’s whereabouts in Germany and decided to visit her.
“The two shared a warm hug at their reunion in Germany as Adamson stroked the elephant and Kirsty curled her trunk around him.”
Adamson said he had always wondered if there was any truth to the phrase "elephants never forget".
“That she allowed me to get close and accepted me was a very emotional experience for me. I will always keep that memory in my heart,” he said.
Zookeepers said the elephant had probably recognised her former caretaker by the sound of his voice. Adamson now plans to visit Kirsty as much as possible. 'After a colourful life with several moves around European zoos she has found her retirement retreat with us,' her current zookeepers said.
The zoo's website describes her as 'intelligent and willing to learn' but also 'dominant over members of her species'. Adamson had found Kirsty's whereabouts by searching online and made contact with the German zookeepers through friends in the city of Trier, the zoo said.
People have been sharing the heartfelt story on social media.
A British Zookeeper has shared a fond reunion with an elephant he cared for more than 30 years ago.— OhReally!! (@LorryDoh) April 29, 2019
Peter Adams was instantly recognized by his old friend Kirsty, an Asian elephant whom he cared for at the Glasgow zoo in the early 1980's until Kirsty was moved away in 1987. pic.twitter.com/ngpahwpoZe
A Lannister always pays his debts. An elephant never forgets. https://t.co/TOsKUbl6Hu— johnna giolagon (@johnnagiolagon) April 30, 2019
The two shared a warm hug.. An elephant never forgets! British zookeeper is reunited with animal he cared for 32 years ago - and is instantly recognized by his old friend. ❤️🐘 she should've been free and not in the zoo in the first place though! 😌 https://t.co/A9y6WPc15z— Angie Karan Ⓥ 🌱🐾 (@angie_karan) May 1, 2019